Insulin resistance (IR) is a condition in which our cells are unable to take up the glucose they need to function because insulin can only bind weakly to insulin receptors on the surface of cells. Insulin is responsible for the incorporation of glucose into cells.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas that helps the body convert glucose into energy. The food we eat is broken down by our digestive system into glucose, which enters the bloodstream and thus reaches every cell in our body. After a meal, the level of glucose (blood sugar) in the blood rises, in response to which the pancreas produces more insulin to help it integrate into the cells.
In the case of insulin resistance, the cells do not respond properly to the insulin, which causes the pancreas to produce even more insulin. After a while, however, it will not be able to meet the increased insulin demand, causing the non-broken-down glucose to accumulate in the bloodstream and lead to the development of diabetes.
Insulin resistance usually has no typical symptoms and is often suspected when examining other diseases. Symptoms may include depression, discomfort, fatigue, hair loss, overweight, apple-shape obesity, menstrual disorders, infertility, and strong hair growth. Insulin resistance is more common in women.